|As Jesus moved into his famous teaching method of parables or story telling, he refers to the knowledge of the secrets of the Kingdom of heaven. Secrets is translated from the term “mysteries” or “the secret plan of God”, which Jesus says, have been given to these early followers. By the way, only God can reveal these secrets. While parables illustrate truths, some require knowledge of the meaning to understand the parable. Those who are hungry for this knowledge will, as the disciples did, seek it out. The others, who don’t have a particular spiritual hunger, will not.
Let’s listen in on what Jesus said: He replied, “Because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.” This is why I speak to them in parables: “Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand.”
In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: “You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them. But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. For truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.” (Matthew 13:11-17)
The essence of the secrets of the Kingdom is to be found in those who have ears to hear and eyes to see. At the end of Matthew 7 Jesus says this well in illustrating those who are doing the will of the Father, when he teaches about two foundations. “Those who hear my words and practice them” build on a rock foundation and “those who hear my words and don’t practice them” build on a sand foundation. NOTE Jesus isn’t speaking of the secrets of the Church, but the secrets of the Kingdom.
The differences between the Church and the Kingdom are many! You enter the Church by attendance and membership classes. You enter the Kingdom by following Jesus. The Church is limited in its local scope and reach; the Kingdom is unlimited and universal. The Church is visible; the Kingdom is invisible. You go to Church; the Kingdom goes wherever you go. The Church tends be an organization; the Kingdom tends to be a movement.
The Church is earthly; the Kingdom is more of a heaven-to-earth connection. Jesus never proclaimed the Church; Jesus continually proclaimed the Kingdom. He even called the Kingdom “the gospel of the Kingdom”, but never referred to the Church in this way.
The Church gathers and scatters; the Kingdom is always present with you. Jesus never says to seek the Church, but to seek first the Kingdom. The Church may or many not grow, however the Kingdom is continually growing. Churches may shut down; the Kingdom cannot be shut down. The Church may or may not have God present; the Kingdom is God’s presence in us.
I don’t reject the Church with all of the good it does and has done around the world. I may or may not enter the Church as regularly as some. What I want more than anything else is to enter the Kingdom, enjoy the King’s presence and invite others to enter.
Think it over, hit the reply button and tell me what you think!